Live Review: Eric Nam – Metro Theatre, Sydney (10.03.19)

I guess it is true what they say when they tell you that “it’s impossible not to like Eric Nam after you’ve seen him”.

The night began in good ol’ Metro Theatre in the heart of Sydney city, with The Voice finalist Lakyn taking to the stage. The crowd quickly got along with his sounds and beats, and it was in some ways relaxing to watch him move around on the stage, just as if the stage was his own. A mixture of live instruments and electronic synths were used to bring his songs to life, and if you weren’t a fan of Lakyn before, you definitely would be now. As his set ended (and what was humbling to note was that he didn’t simply say Goodbye and walk off stage, leaving the packing to stage crew, but he actually came back to help pack and clean up his equipment), the crowd murmured excitedly and expectantly for Eric Nam to arrive.

Contrary to mane other concerts, Eric Nam was quick and punctual, heading out at 8:50 in time for his set with a bountiful energy rarely seen by artists. Performing an ensemble of his latest hits as well as classics (I’m looking at you Heaven’s Door), Eric quickly won over the hearts of everyone in the audience, even stopping to take the time to give a shout-out to the parents in the crowd that had accompanied their children. Interacting with his fans and integrating his talks seamlessly with his performances, it became all too easy to forget how time had passed quickly until it was time for him to thank his dancers and say goodbye.

It was all in all a fantastic night indeed, but don’t just rely on my own opinion. Taking a quick scan of the crowd, it was evident to see that nearly all of the audience was captivated by the night’s performance. Though the production value was considerably less than those of physically bigger idol groups (this in part has to do with the venue choice), there were no cuts taken on the value of Eric Nam himself. Performance after performance, the artist never showed any signs of fatigue and seemed to genuinely and wholeheartedly enjoy performing in front of his fans.

Being part of the show also makes you realise how Eric Nam has acted as a bridge for both sides of the world, filling the gap that is so often left by other artists. It is rare to find a Korean singer that would not only speak fluent English, but actually have been born and raised in a Western culture, but still surrounding by the Eastern aspects of his life. During the night Eric spoke fondly of his memories with his mother, as she would remind him constantly that “공부해야지” (“You need to study”), a memory that would no doubt resonate with the whole audience no matter what your language. But through simple mannerisms such as this, Eric would be able to quickly build up his rapport with the audience. The cultural relevance that came from the talks at the night’s shows also proved that not only was it important to be able to speak fluently, it was just as, if not even more, important to be socially and culturally aware of the issues and topics surrounding the world today. Because of this knowledge and immersion that Eric had given himself, he was able to quickly pick up on jokes the fans had on their hand-made signs, or to make quick references at current pop culture, all while still being the same down-to-earth guy that Eric Nam naturally is.

But aside from his ability to communicate fluently with his fans, Eric’s show also showcased his bright and fun personality. It wasn’t just that Eric communicated with his fans, it was that he made his audience entirely integral with the show. At many points during the night he would respond to random people yelling out from the crowd, taking the time to stop and sing (and have the whole audience sing) Happy Birthday to a girl who’s friends pointed out to him was her birthday, quipping back at a couple people’s “I love you!”s from the crowd, and generally not being afraid to go in and immerse himself in the audience instead of staying on the stage the whole time. Watching such a performance was refreshing in comparison to a purely song and dance performance that may be showcased by others, and made every single person in the audience truly feel that their singer did genuinely care for them and their well-being and enjoyment.

Summing up the whole experience of the night is not an easy thing to do, but I will try my best. Both Lakyn and Eric Nam beyond surpassed my expectations, and provided a truly captivating concert to watch and experience. While his fluency and cultural sensitivity have helped contribute to Eric Nam’s great international success, it is important to note that these skills only provide support to his already kind-hearted and warm personality, and that there truly is no artist like Eric Nam.